Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Friday, 26 October 2012

Berlin's Festival of Light

Britta Huegel

Dear YOU,
you remember that, coming home from our holidays, I complained about the missing roller blinds in front of the window - and NO, they are still not there (we do have curtains, of course - I am not like the Dutch Puritans - even of today! - who believe that their life is so sinless that it should not be open to God alone but to everybody else marching along their (curtainless) windows, house-owners murmuring defiantly "I have nothing to hide."
I have - but that's what curtains are doing. And these days - to be precise: the last 12 nights - I had every reason to enjoy what I see in all its splendour: for this time Berlin has again its  Festival of Light. The blue rays I see every night from my balcony remind me of Metropolis. The Dome is covered with milles fleurs. A very coulourful Brandenburger Tor, and, and, and...
But do you know what I like most? The 'Eiermannsche Turm', beside the ruin of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, that was destroyed in World War II , melted down by bombs to only 68m height instead of 113m. When the architect Egon Eiermann 1957 made a proposal for a new church - without the ruin! - Berlin's citizens protested vehemently - with good results: the ruin remained, and West of it Eiermann placed the octagonal church and Foyer, East the hexagonal belltower - both with the characteristic honeycomb facade with coloured glass bricks, each a unique specimen made in Chartres. They inaugurated the church on 17.12.1961 (4 month after the building of the Berlin Wall).
Ha, and a good housewife might shudder: this year they cleaned those beautiful windows for the very first time!!! It was worth it:

Britta Huegel

And, very special: you can see this 'Light Festival' every evening in the year.
We only have to cross a few streets!

With sparkling  regards
Yours                                  Britta


Saturday, 20 October 2012

...a postcard or letter?...


Dear YOU,

thank you for this beautiful postcard!
Britta Huegel
I grinned when I read your text:

"Dear Britta, 
in the exhibition 'Man Ray, Lee Miller and the Surrealists" I discovered YOU on a photography by M. R. - as proof I send you this postcard with the warmest regards from very sunny California..." 

Oh I love getting "real" post! Of course I am happy that we can correspond via email. But there is a difference: sitting in the parlour, anticipating. The postman only comes once - in Berlin early about 9 o'clock in the morning. We hear a 'clonk!' when the letters (advertisement and bills, mostly) drop through the letter-slot in the door. Yes: we don't have letterboxes here, the poor chap has to run up even to the 5th floor and bring the letters per pedes. Why? Well - the owner of the house doesn't want to disturb the beauty of the marble entrance hall...
Ah: to feel the texture of the envelope! Crisp paper, heavy or not? The choice of a beautiful stamp. The handwriting. You see by the holes on the postcard above that I collect letters from my friends since school days - I have vast amounts by my friend Atie where the envelopes were all decorated with drawings or collages - once she glued the paperthin seeds of lunaria - annual "honesty" - around the sides of the envelope. And the postman was as glad as I when it arrived whole and complete.
In Hamburg a postman once rung my bell and came up, though there we had letterboxes at the groundfloor. He said: "I wanted to see the woman who gets such exciting cards!" (Did he read them? Was he acquainted with the Law of 'secrecy of the post' - and did he believe that it also includes postcards?! A young friend of mine had chosen his favorite cards with - very elaborate :-) - taste).
Yesterday in The Guardian a graphologist had to look at ten letters and guess who was the writer.  His guesses were astonishingly accurate. Title: "Beyonc√©, Obama, Lady Gaga - what does their handwriting say about them?" - I loved especially his sentence
"It looks as if this person either hasn't been taught how to write, or has forgotten all about it – maybe someone under 30. " (It was a Royal person - "Someone who is conscious of the distance between them and the rest of the world? The gap between words is larger than usual, a graphologist would note.") 

See: that is the downside of e-mails: we cannot impress others by the gap between words that is larger than usual - though of course it is :-) 

With aloof noble greetings 
your friend                                 Britta


 

Friday, 12 October 2012

A Picnic

Britta Huegel

Dear You, 
Yes - with good reason you complain that I didn't write for such a long time, so sorry! Have been busy - and will be for a while - but I enjoy my 'secret' project, and it makes me aware that time is a valuable resource - I have to budget it, and that is not the worst thing that can happen. The postman comes day after day with parcels from Amazon...
Above you see that we still have some time to enjoy ourselves. A picnic in the gardens of the Jewish Museum in Berlin: you can buy the picnic baskets all ready


- though Had-I-But-Known that the deckchair is orange, I would have chosen another scarf; and Had-I-But-Known that it was raining all the time I would have chosen another day, or at least other shoes... But my name isn't Mary Roberts Rinehard, and yours is not Ogden Nash: "Don't guess, let me tell you!" - or do you know a way to sit in a deckchair and look elegant?? I don't and gave up looking for a solution - life showed me that it is better to sit clumsy than stand ornamentally. Despite the drizzle it was very nice - inside of the museum a jazz-band was playing, and our group of twelve people had a lot to discuss.